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Charlotte, NC, used a novel approach a few years ago to survey residents: use city employees to stop people on the street for an impromptu ten-minute survey on how they feel about their city.
The idea originated from an employee’s response to a city solicitation for ideas to propose to the Knight Foundation as part of the Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for new ideas that would make communities a better place to live and work. The idea, from an employee in Storm Water Services, Alyssa Dodd, is centered around city employees taking 10 minutes once a week to have a conversation with a member of the community to discuss how we can make our city a better place to live, work and play.
Alyssa’s idea won a mini-grant through the Knight program and was implemented by the city. From October 2015 to June 2016, 156 city employees had 2,487, 10-minute, one-on-one conversations. The conversations explored what people liked about Charlotte and what ideas they had for improvement.
Former Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee cites the following research to show that the program had significant benefits:
According to an independent evaluation by the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the employees who participated ‘learned about what Charlotte citizens are interested in and took away new perspectives and ideas…were more likely to say they would reach out to citizens for their thoughts and ideas after completing the project…reported feeling more connected to Charlotte citizens after completing the project…[and] reported that their communication skills improved.’
For more information, visit Take10CLT or email Ron Carlee at firstname.lastname@example.org.